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U.S. Department of Education Honors Seven Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools as 2018 National Blue Ribbon Recipients

The Archdiocese of Chicago is the Recipient of the Greatest Number of Blue Ribbon Awards of Any School System – Public and Private – in the Country

Chicago, IL (October 1, 2018) – The Archdiocese of Chicago announced today that seven of its Catholic schools  –  Cardinal Joseph Bernardin Elementary School (Orland Hills), Queen of All Saints School (Chicago), Sacred Heart School (Winnetka), St. Bede School (Ingleside), St. Francis de Sales School (Lake Zurich), St. Francis Xavier School (Wilmette) and St. Therese School (Chicago) – have been recognized this year by the U.S. Department of Education with Blue Ribbon Awards. The National Blue Ribbon Award is presented to schools based on a school’s overall academic excellence or the school’s progress in closing student achievement gaps. The Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools have received 102 Blue Ribbon Awards, more than any other school system – public and private – in the country.

“I am extremely proud of our Catholic schools for being recognized by the U.S. Department of Education,” said Dr. Jim Rigg, superintendent of Catholic Schools. “The honor of achieving Blue Ribbon designation status reinforces the academic excellence and quality Catholic education we provide students and their families throughout the Archdiocese of Chicago.” 

All seven schools were recognized under the category of “Exemplary High Performing Schools,” meaning the schools are among the state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests. Five of the archdiocese’s 2018 recipients have earned this prestigious honor twice: Cardinal Joseph Bernardin Elementary School (2008), Queen of All Saints School (2008), St. Francis de Sales School (2007), St. Francis Xavier School (2012) and St. Therese School (2011).   

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recognized 349 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2018. On November 7-8, the Secretary and the Department of Education will celebrate with 300 public and 49 private school honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. The Blue Ribbon Award celebrates the idea that all students, regardless of background, ability or location, deserve an excellent education.

“I’m pleased to celebrate with you as your school is named a National Blue Ribbon School,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a video message to the honorees. “We recognize and honor your important work in preparing students for successful careers and meaningful lives. Congratulations on your students’ accomplishments and for your extraordinary commitment to meeting their unique needs.”

Now in its 36th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed recognition on more than 8,800 schools affirming the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.

Catholic high school seniors in the Archdiocese of Chicago graduate at a rate of more than 98 percent. Ninety-five percent of Archdiocesan Catholic high school graduates go on to college, earning millions of dollars in college scholarships each year. Catholic school graduates are committed to helping others through community service, a commitment that continues through adulthood. Catholic school graduates are also civically engaged and can be found in leadership positions in business, government and non-profit organizations.